Monday Morning Quarterback Part II
By BOP Staff
January 23, 2013
Kim Hollis: Arnold Schwarzenegger's expected triumphant return to theaters failed to materialize, as The Last Stand bombed with only $6.3 million in three days. What went wrong here?
Brett Ballard-Beach: To put a point on this bombing, this is his worst opening weekend in 27 years (since 1986's Raw Deal) and only three of his films in the 31 years beginning with Conan the Barbarian have opened with less (Raw Deal, Red Sonja, and… The Terminator, surprisingly enough). This is doubly surprising since 1) Lions Gate was behind this and they know about promoting their genre pictures and 2) the early reviews were surprisingly favorable with some ecstatic over what a great slam-bang return role it was for Mr. S.
I have heard some rumblings that in a post Expendables universe, why would action fans settle for just one star? This is twaddle (look at Jason Statham's career as a rebuke). But I do think that 10 years away from a leading protagonist role is a long time in Hollywood years, and the fan base needs something of a Terminator-style effort to draw them back to paying top dollar. In the next four weeks he'll be joined by his 1980s/Expendables cohorts Stallone (with Bullet to the Head) and Bruce Willis (the new Die Hard) with big action films. I don't think Willis should be worried since it's his signature franchise role, but I think that Stallone's numbers are going to be a lot closer to this.
Edwin Davies: Arnie's been away for too long, to the extent that most of the young men who used to be his core audience have grown up and moved on, and the next generation of young men know him primarily as an embarrassment of a politician who used to be in movies. The trailers were very kinetic and emphasized the humor nicely, but I don't think there was a particularly big section of the population who were ridiculously excited about seeing him back in action outside of something warm and familiar like The Terminator or in something like The Expendables where he was part of the broader ensemble. It probably didn't help that reaction to both Expendables movies was pretty muted, if not outright hostile, which might have followed him around in this instance and kept people away.
Jay Barney: Sadly, the title of this film may symbolize the last gasp of ‘80s and ‘90s action movie stars. I hate to write that, because I was the one excited they were making a remake of Red Dawn. Lionsgate is going to take a huge hit on this one. I saw one estimate that the budget was around $45 million. The Last Stand is not going to be a noteworthy return for Arnold at the box office. I’m surprised they did measure this out and try a summer release. Audiences are more accepting of this type of product in June or July then in January. Wish it had done better.
Bruce Hall: When Ah-nuld began his film career, nobody thought the funny looking muscle man with the unpronounceable name and thick as molasses accent would ever amount to anything. Of course they were wrong, and the Austrian Oak has been defying expectations ever since. But the irony is that after destroying the state of California just because he could, and then publicly disgracing his family for much the same reason, we appear to have come full circle.